Sunday, October 16, 2016

Here's what is selling at Boswell, week ending October 15, 2016

Here's what selling at Boswell.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
2. The Trespasser, by Tana French
3. Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer
4. Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple
5. Jerusalem, by Alan Moore
6. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
7. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
8. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
9. The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
10. Lady Cop Makes Trouble, by Amy Sttewart

Brit Bennett's The Mothers is the #1 Indie Next pick for October. It was recommended by Jamie Thomas of Chicago's Women and Children First: “The ‘mothers’ of this book’s title refers to the gaggle of elderly churchgoing women who comment on the congregation around them, especially the trio of Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey. But The Mothers is about more than that — it refers to the concept of motherhood, whether biological, lost, aborted, adoptive, or conflicted. The three young people at the heart of this story are all flawed, but their portrayals are realistic and they are easy for readers to support. This is a book about salvation — not the spiritual salvation that the gossiping, but well-intentioned mothers seek, but the kind that comes with self-acceptance and growth. The Mothers is an honest, modern, and triumphant book.”

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Belly Art Project, by Sara Blakely
2. Be Obsessed or Be Average, by Grant Cardone
3. The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need, by Anthony Iannorino
4. By the People, by Charles Murray
5. Portfolio Society, by Ivan Ascher
6. Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen
7. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
8. Upstream, by Mary Oliver
9. My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
10. Women in Science, by Rachel Ignotofsky

Those who get an early mailing of our bestsellers will know that I inadvertently moved Mary Oliver's Upstream to the fiction list from nonfiction, which is where we generally slot poetry. But Oliver's newest, Upstream, is a collection of essays. In The Washington Post, Elizabeth Lund writes: "The richness of these essays — part revelation, part instruction — will prompt readers to dive in again and again as Oliver reveals more about what she feels is the responsibility to live, observe and write with careful attention, passion, and an abiding awareness that hope is 'a fighter and a screamer.'”

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hostile Takeover, by Phyllis Piano
2. Home, by Toni Morrison
3. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
4. A Planet for Rent, by Yoss
5. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
6. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
7. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
8. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
9. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
10. Super Extra Grande, by Yoss

Cuban science fiction writer Yoss made a last-minutes top at Marquette to deliver two lectures, one in English and another in Spanish. Apparently Cuba has a storied tradition in science fiction and fantasy and Restless Books is tapping into it by publishing the work of Yoss, including A Planet for Rent and Super Extra Grande, and two works by Agostín de Rojas, The Year 200 and A Legend of the Future. Here's an NPR piece from Juan Vidal. We have signed copies of Yoss.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. As You Wish, by Cary Elwes
2. Between Truth and Time, by Christine Evans
3. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
4. The Road to Character, by David Brooks
5. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
6. Ottoman Endgame, by Sean McMeekin
7. My Life on the Road, by Gloria Steinem
8. Shallow Grave, by Gavin Schmitt
9. Reclaiming Conversation, by Sherry Turkle
10. The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf

David Brooks has been a regular talking head during the election season, and The Road to Character has been popping into our top ten with some regularity. Is it a coincidence that his current work discusses his attempt to "transcend shallow punditry," as Rebecca Mead in The New Yorker wrote? Here's a telling quote within the review: "I’m paid to be a narcissistic blowhard, to volley my opinions, to appear more confident about them than I really am, to appear smarter than I really am, to appear better and more authoritative than I really am. I have to work harder than most people to avoid a life of smug superficiality.”

Picture Books and Board Books:
1. Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Hat, by Marilyn Sadler with illustrations by Eric Comstock
2. Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice, by Marilyn Sadler with illustrations by Eric Comstock
3. Miss Paul and the President, by Dean Robbins with illustrations by Nancy Zhang
4. Two Friends, by Dean Robbins with illustrations by Susan Qualls
5. Everything I Know I Learned from a Star Wars Little Golden Book, edited by Geof Smith
6. A Porcupine Named Fluffy, by Helen Lester with illustrations by Lynn Munsinger
7. Eek Halloween, by Sandra Boynton
8. I Dissent, by Debbie Levy with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley
9. We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen
10. Because of Thursday, by Patricia Polacco

A day with illustrator Eric Comstock, he of Charlie Piechart and the Missing Hat and Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice, was much enjoyed by kids at several area schools. Comstock told us that the current series, which teaches math concepts to picture book readers, could run for seven books, with a mix of picture books and early readers. The newest uses the cone-shaped hat to explore shapes. We noticed that Mr. Comstock's artwork appeared on one of our Calypso Cards. In addition to the books, they are also now signed!

Middle Grade and YA Books:
1. Gertie's Leap to Greatness, by Kate Beasley
2. Mighty Jack, by Ben Hatke
3. The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart
4. Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke
5. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
6. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, by Trenton Lee Stewart
7. Thor's Hammer, by Rick Riordan
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets illustrated edition, by J.K. Rowling
9. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqeline Woodson (event Fri 10/21, 6:30, at Centennial Hall)
10. Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke

Another author who did school visits (though she had a public event at Books and Company that we encouraged you to vist) was Kate Beasley, author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness. It's not common for a middle grade book by a non celeb to be reviewed by Entertainment Weekly, by Alison Sadlier takes on the job and offers a B+, writing: "Gertie is both entertaining and exceptionally realistic, and Beasley handles the character’s insecurities about her place in the world in a way that kids can relate to and sympathize with. Though sometimes it feels like there are one too many heartbreaking embarrassments bearing down on Gertie, the precocious grade-schooler is one readers will love to root for, and her zany antics make the lengthy 256-page tale worthwhile."

We should also note that Kate Beasley's sister wrote Circus Mirandus, another popular book at Boswell!

Over at the Journal Sentinel TAPBooks section, Jim Higgins profiles Jennifer Weiner, who is coming to Boswell on Tuesday, October 18, for a ticketed event for Hungry Heart. He writes: "With the fluid, feisty and funny voice she cultivated as a feature writer before turning to novels, Jennifer Weiner's first nonfiction book could have been a punchy collection of essays and commentaries, and everyone would have gone home happy. But, Weiner said during a telephone interview, as she dug into the writing, she checked in with her gut. 'I want to write it for women who don’t see their stories a lot, women who maybe don’t see themselves a lot on the page or on the screen," she said. "I want to tell my stories to make those readers feel less alone and more visible in the world.'" Buy tickets here.

Chris Foran, Journal Sentinel editor, looks at the history of Esperanto in Esther Schor's Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language. Foran notes how the language was created to bridge cultures: "Initially, Zamenhof pitched the language as an efficiency measure, 'an official and commercial dialect' that would cut through cultural and language barriers. But Zamenhof, a former Zionist who had given up on the idea of a Jewish state as an antidote to anti-Semitism, also saw Esperanto's potential as a universal language that could break down barriers."

And finally, special to the Journal Sentinel, it's Carole Barrowman's Paging Through Mysteries roundup. Here are this week's picks.

Hold a Scorpion, by Melodie Johnson Howe features an actor slash amateur detective. Barrowman: "I adore Diana and this series with its southern California settings and its Hollywood insider vibe. And Johnson Howe knows this world intimately. The author was once an actor. According to, she’s the woman in the bathtub with Clint Eastwood in the opening scenes of Coogan’s Bluff."

Victim Without a Face, by Stefan Ahnhem is "a stellar debut" about a detective who discovers that his school classmates are being punished for their childhood sins. Barrowman: "Victim Without a Face is an all-encompassing crime novel: a compelling character study, a relentless plot exploring the nature of revenge, and a taut mystery."

The Oslo Conspiracy, by Asle Skredderberget features a financial crimes expert investigating the death of a scientist. Barrowman: "Turns out, the scientist is the sister of a boy murdered in a gang slaying in a playground years before. Cavalli is determined to discover the connection and find the killer. The plot whisks readers from Oslo to Rome to New York and back in a tale of corporate espionage and family secrets."

One last thing! Also in the Journal Sentinel is Duane Dudek's profile of Bryan Cranston, who is coming to the Pabst for an event sponsored by Kansas City's Rainy Day Books. Tickets are $35 plus taxes and fees and include a copy of A Life in Parts.

Don't forget, our event with Patricia Polacco is cancelled this coming Saturday, due to illness.

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